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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  March 15, 2014 1:30pm-2:01pm PDT

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i'm jim sciutto in new york. the new focus for the search crews and international agencies searching for the missing boeing 777 is what was happening on that flight deck before the jet vanished from every scope watching if from the ground?
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here's one working scenario. the plane may have flown this pattern northwest over kentucky na and possibly into central asia and possibly kazakhstan. that's where some groups have some issues with china and the west and analysts say they could see the value in taking over an airplane. again, it's one of the many working theories, but one that becomes more plausible now in light of the possible flight path. the flight 370 made extreme changes in altitude. it climbed to 45,000 feet and dropped to 23,000. but is that even possible? martin savage demonstrates what that would look like from inside a cockpit simulator. >> the great thing about having this whole system here where we can practice, simulate is the fact that we can take all these new scenarios and literately see if they fly. and some of them don't. let's start with the reporting that this aircraft was operating at 45,000 feet, which is where
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we are now in a simulator. it's a struggle to get the plane there. it was never meant to fly this high. and even though we have a real good pilot, tell us what it's like to keep the aircraft here. >> it's very difficult to control. part of the problem you have is this plane is on the brink of stalling, going too slow, but at the same time almost at the brink of going too fast. a raiser edge of balance. let's talk about that sudden decent that's been described. a plane descending pushes over the top. something reported to be around 45,000 feet a minute. it couldn't fall that fast. if you try to descend quickly, this is what happens. the alarms are all going off and now you know you're in trouble. what's happening with the airplane? >> we're sinking at close to 20,000 feet per minute and the plane would be breaking apart at this point. >> the air structure and the integrity of the airplane would
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now be in jeopardy. whether the plane could survive, whether the pilots could pull it out of such a dive is hard to imagine. if a plane was in any shape to continue flying that, who knows what would have happened to the passengers. let's talk about something else that's been reported. that is that there might have been two conspirators or more. somebody was flying the plane while allegedly another person was down below in the electronics bay below this and they are dismantling systemically some of the radios here. yes, it's possible, but as we fly with the simulator, you don't need two people. you could have it on auto pilot. >> it's ideal to have two. the more the better, i guess, for that purpose. but the auto pilot could be on. one guy could turn it off and execute what they needed to do. >> or have one person on auto pilot, climb down, come back and
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finish the deal. it doesn't necessarily mean two. let's talk about the transpon r transponder. that's really the first indicator that this plane had a problem. it's a very simple device and it's found right here next to me knee. this transponder essentially is what identifies us in the air as to who we are. >> that's right. >> the important thing to remember is no pilot in their right mind would switch it off. but somehow it was disabled. how do you turn it off if you had to? it's simple. grab the knob, three clicks to the left, it's off. it means we're no longer transmitting who we are, where we're headed. we still show up on radar, but we're unidentifiable. the problem is that's like going the wrong way down a highway. you just would not do it. the one last thing. you could use it to use a distress signal. the way you do that is enter a specific code. it's done like this.
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clear, i'm not going to enter the exact code, but it would be like this. now the aircraft is automatically admitting it's under a hijack situation. on the ground, alarm bells are now ringing, jets are scrambling to intercept. there's no indication that happened, but it could have been done. what you find with the simulation each time you run the scenarios is it's still a mystery and we're no closer to finding the plane or the people who were on it. jim? >> martin savage on a 777 simulator. richard, you have been in a simulator before. watching that sequence, is there any scenario you can imagine where there would be a fire or some sort of system failure that could create the same conditions to rise to 45,000 feet, and then 23,000 feet? >> the numbers involved are -- they are not confirmed. the important point about that is where they are getting the data from. even the article that talks about this, i think it's the times that has the 45,000 and
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23,000. even the article itself basically says it's not certain that those are the parameters. >> how about the sequencing? could that have happened? >> the plane goes up and down and up and down, it's a well-known problem that does happen sometimes. as you aim for stability in the air. to go to 45,000 and down to 23,000, i would spare a thought that the passengers that would be going through that. >> not designed for that kind of decent. >> it's all doable. you need a lot of experience, but it's all doable exactly as they showed. >> we'll talk more about this after the break. thank you very much. rhode isla richard is going to stay here. as the flight search expands, they are looking more at the people on board that plane. we did a story with the co-pilot a week before the plane
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disappeared. but first, want to update you on another big story we're following. the situation in ukraine. one day before an explosive referendum in krooi mia, the military is on the move. 60 russian troops and assisted by three armored vehicles crossed into the border of krooi mia. the local government says they repelled the troops, but border guards say they are still there. residents decide whether to leave ukraine and join russia or become independent. earlier russia vetoed a draft resolution in the u.n. security council declaring that referendum invalid. 13 of the 15 members supported it. the atmosphere is tense throughout the region. thousands of protesters in support of the referendum rallied peacefully. we'll be right back with. more. that would be my daughter -- hi dad. she's a dietitian. and back when i wasn't eating right,
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keeping you up to date on the missing malaysian airliner. the search is bigger than ever. according to official statements, the tracking system was shut off before the point of last contact when the pilot said those words "all right, good night." but the latest analysis shows the plane may have flown for another seven hours, first turning west, then possibly turning again eastern north or south. the u.s. now has several assets helping in the search for the plane. the u.s. kidd which is a destroyer, is searching in the ocean. as we learn more about what happened inside the cockpit as
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the plane dropped off the grid, there's a new focus for the investigation. the people on board the plane. cnn has just learned that police searched this man's home. he was the pilot, scouring his residence today. after the country's prime minister confirmed that the plane was likelied, in his words, deliberately diverted. police vans were seen leaving the co-pilot's home. richard quest did a story with him just a week before the disappearance. you can see him there inside the cockpit with him. now we know that last transmission, "all right, good night," was made after the transponder was turned off. do you think this suggesting something? you were in the docockpit with him. does that convince you more that something sinister happened? >> i've been fighting against that thought all week. if anything, i would be one of the people that resisted that suggestion. but you do start to see pieces of the jigsaw being put on the
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table that lead you to a particular way. you come back to this idea of if the plane was being maneuvered in a deliberate fashion in this manner, why? and there really aren't that many reasons why. one end of the spectrum, you have hijacking and terrorism. the other end of the spectrum, you have a disabled aircraft and the pilots are doing the best they can in some terrible, extremist circumstances. i'm not prepared. i don't think anybody could be prepared to say at this stage what it is. the prime minister of malaysia would not go that one stage further and say he could not say it was a hijacking. >> deliberate but not necessarily hijacked. something else could have caused that to happen. >> whether it was 447, any of the air france, we have seen so many cases where a set of facts presents themselves which at
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first leads to a conclusion, but ultimately chooses, but we need to look at all the options. i don't deny the possibility. i'm not saying it's not. i'm saying i'm keeping an open mind. >> as the investigators are, i speak to u.s. officials and their assessment of terrorism has not changed in the last eight days. we haven't established a clear lead. i want to ask you a question about fliers out there. as i was thinking this. i flew from washington to new york this morning. e we took an odd approach. that happens. but we also took it at a low altitude. but i have flown a lot like you. the first time i have ever done that. i have never been afraid or nervous in a plane before, but the thought occurred to me, why are we taking this weird route? you begin to think are our planes, is our air system as
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immune to this post 9/11, 13 years later with all the controls that we have as we thought? should passengers think this is a worrisome sign if it turns out to be a commandeering of that plane? >> not really. the numbers involved are extremely small. but also that's why they have to get to grips with this one. that's why they have to get to grips because they don't know why. i have a question for you. are your intelligence sources leaning one way or the other or are they still keeping an open mind? >> they are intelligence sources, they won't tell you where they are leaning. i think it's safe to say they are keeping an open mind. i think it's safe to say. they are doing what you just said and what we keep saying is we don't know. we have indicators, but we haven't established clear links. that's where they stand. richard is going to be back because we won't let him go. thanks very much for joining us. the mystery surrounding flight 370 may seem rare, but
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it's far from the first time an aircraft vanished off the map. next, a disappearance of two u.s. congressmen and the search yielded not a single clue, when we come back. i reckon a storm's a brewin'. reckon so. reckon you gotta hotel? reckon, no. reckon priceline express deals will get you a great deal. wherever you...mosey. you reckon? we reckon. vamonos the spring hotel sale is on at save up to 60% on any express deal hotel, when you use code: spring '14. i reckon this is one deal you won't want to miss. ♪ aflac, aflac, aflac! ♪ [ both sigh ] ♪ ugh! ♪ you told me he was good, dude. yeah he stinks at golf. but he was great at getting my claim paid fast.
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next is every second of nbcuniversal's coverage 0f the 2014 olympic winter games. it's connecting over one million low-income americans to broadband internet at home. it's a place named one america's most veteran friendly employers. next is information and entertainment in ways you never thought possible. welcome to what's next. comcastnbcuniversal. while such situations are extremely rare, the puzzling disappearance of malaysia flight 370 is not the first time a plane vanished without a trace. some of these cases remain unsolved decades later. rosa flores joins us with three instances. . what you're telling us is this
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has happened before. >> absolute lip. some of them are still a mystery. i'm going to start with the most recent and go to a case that involves cannibalism. we are going to go there. this first case you probably remember this is back in 2009. it was air france flight 447. it was headed to paris from rio. this flight plunged into the atlantic ocean killing the 228 passengers and crew on board. it took five days to find the wreckage and hear this. three years for the investigators to determine what had happened in this case. it turns out ice crystals caused the auto pilot to disconnect. we should add that the bodies of 74 passengers remain unrecovered. and now we go to the other case. i'm going to take you to 1972. two congressmen disappear ed in alaska. their small plane was headed to juneau from anchorage. they were never recovered.
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the wreckage was never found. and this again was in 1972. the active search lasted for 39 days. it involved 70 aircraft and 3,600 hours of fly time. nothing turned up. in 1972 because, hear this, this is flight 571. it's headed to chile. authorities are not aware that there are survivors. but there are survivors. you probably remember this plot from a movie so hang on with me. an avalanche actually hits the wreckage. the people on board are using this wreckage as their shelter. this is what we are using. but an avalanche hits it so another eight people die. so survivors resort to
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cannibalism to stay alive. they are rescued two months later. and of course, a lot of people have probably watched the movie, but it adds to the suspense when we they thi about the mystery of 370. so where is it? are we going to learn later that these people are alive? we don't know. the pieces of the puzzle are everywhere at this point. >> the point you make with the disappearing planes, what was thought originally didn't turn out to be true. thanks very much. see you in the next hour with three more aviation mysteries. coming up, they came from more than a dozen different nations and from all walks of life. a look at some of the passenger on board flight 370, right after this. [ male announcer ] hey, look at you!
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we are now in the ninth day since the malaysian airliner disappeared, but the families are holding on to hope still to this day. hundreds of people are leaving messages on this wall of hope set up at the airport. people are writing prayers, some write messages. 239 people were on board the plane. a father of one passenger says he hopes the plane was hijacked because then he could believe his son was still alive. we have spent a lot of time talking about the theories, the conflicting information, the investigation, but it's the people on board who are at the center of it all. among them, a stunt man and an artist, mothers and fathers, buddhist pilgrims and vacationers coming from a dozen countries, including the u.s.
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nick valencia has some of their stories. >> 239 people on board, 239 unique and individual stories from stuntmen to engineers to ordinary, average, everyday travele travelers. phil weeks was one of them. we worked to try to put together a portrait of some of the passengers on the plane. phil weeks, ojly from new zealand, was on his way to a dream job. before he got on the flight, his wife said he handed her his wedding ring and watch just in case he anything happened to him, he wanted those items to be passed on to his sons. she's still holding out hope. another two passengers originally from canada but were living in beijing and were on their way to vacation in vietnam. they have two young boys who were left with their grandparents as they went to enjoy a vacation. earlier our affiliate caught up with his boss who called him a great colleague and a great
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friend. also we're learning of another woman who was a malaysian national who was living in the united states. she was described as a funny woman. very smart as well. originally from malaysia. she was working at a chemical processing plant that helped make rubber supplies. her friends and family also holding out hope she will return safely. back here in the united states is phil wood. a resident o of oklahoma city. he was an ibm executive and had a travel bug. he learned to travel the world. his friends and family describe him as a humble and kind man. we hope that this give ls you a sense of who was on that plane and that 239 is not just a number, but individual stories and lives all on flight 370.
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jim? you are in the cnn newsroom. i'm jim sciutto in today for don lemon. if there's one reason to be slightly hopeful as this airl e airliner search goes on, it's that there's no evidence as of yet that the plane crashed. small comfort, but better than no comfort for families in every country those 239 passengers and crew called home. a new working theory this evening though presuming the boeing 777 was forced into silence is that it may have been taken in this direction toward western china or the countries of central asia. the plane carried enough fuel, we know, to get there. it is part of the world where some extremist groups have real political and ethic struggles. andrew stevens, if i can start, how jarring, how


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